Love in the time of stalking

Tech Tonic

By Surit Doss
  • Published 4.06.18

Whether 19 or 70, people are becoming more and more adventurous these days and many have started to venture onto dating apps as a diversion. But, along with entertainment, these apps may also bring dangers and tribulations. Here are some tips on how you can be safe on two of the trendiest dating apps, Tinder and OkCupid, without hiding behind a fake photo or profile.

Most dating apps, including Tinder and OkCupid, pull your data from Facebook. This has your name, age, interests and employment details as well as photos and friends. Even if you use an alias, it is easy to identify you from your interests, your school, and even your workplace. Therefore, to be on the safe side, it is better to take some basic precautions. You should remove your workplace, school and colleges you attended from your public profile in the app. You should also change your primary photo because even that may be auto-filled onto your dating app.

It is best not to register with your Facebook account; go with a phone number or email address instead. Even though this means that your phone number is out there on a public platform, you always have the option of blocking people you are no longer comfortable with. You could even get another SIM to be used exclusively on dating sites.

If you log in with Facebook, be warned that every time - and place - you check in from can also be accessed. All someone has to do is search with your first name and a college to pull up your Facebook details. After that, a simple Google search will reveal more about you.

It is not safe to link Instagram to Tinder though many youngsters are migrating to Instagram these days. Linking with Instagram means you can easily post your best pictures on the dating apps and a large number of young people actually use these dating apps to increase followers and likes on Instagram. It is dangerous because it gives a lot of information on your favourite hangouts, places you like visiting and exposes photos and comments of your friends as well.

If the person you have matched with on Tinder suggests you move away from Tinder and use other messaging apps, stick to the ones that you are familiar with. WhatsApp is a good choice because of its encryption policy.

OkCupid gives you more detailed information about the person you are matched with. It is a good app if you are serious about dating and making friends online. Unfortunately, even stalkers know that. It is better to use an anonymous username. Choose your name wisely and don't use your first name or pet name. Even if there is a whiff of creepy feeling, remove yourself at once and block the person.

Apps like OkCupid are profile-heavy. It is good to share a lot about yourself when you are building up a relationship. You can talk about your hobbies and favourite leisure activities but don't give specifics about places you visit regularly. It is good to discuss matches and books but not groups that you are a part of. Be cautious about discussing your profession and workplace. In other words, be a little reserved. Most importantly, don't share pictures that you wouldn't want your superiors or your mother to see.

Use an email that is only dedicated to your dating activities. There are many free and disposable email services available. Turn off location services for OkCupid. And don't agree to meet till you have reached a certain degree of familiarity and even video chatted. Play it safe.